An Overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Met

We see it everywhere. Whether we see it on the streets, as a sculpture, or even in the form of a song, art plays an important role in the lives of the Anmerican people. From the time we are born we are taught to appreciate the arts. While it may not always be in the form of a museum
worthy painting, there is no doubt children love to scribble or smear paint across a piece of paper. The appreciation of this art does not diminish in time.

Rather, young students grow up and study this trade, then later apply it to make fascinating sculptures and works that the people of their country stare at in awe. In the United States, the appreciation of this skill is very prevalent.

Rather it’s buying a painting for our house or observing a water color in a museum, we all enjoy the art trade. One of the largest gatherings of works in the country sits on the corner of 5″ Avenue, in the Manhattan Bureau, in New York City.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or as it is sometimes referred to, “The Met,” is one of the most visited art museums in the country. Its permanent exhibits prominently display over two million works divided into 17 curatorial departments, the largest of which sits on the edge of Central Park and is one of the largest in the world. A picture of the outside of thegallery is shown to the right.

Founded in 1870, the collection has had time to continue to grow.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870. A group of businessmen and financiers, and leading artists and thinkers of the day decided they wanted to bring art to America and educate the American people on the importance and beauty of art. The Museum opened its doors on February 20, 1872. The Met is open seven days a week, 361 days a year. The only days The Museum is closed is Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and the first Monday in May. In order to enter the museum, one may purchase tickets at a ticket window or online. The amount paid for tickets at a ticket window is up to the customer. The Museum revolves around donations, so they ask the visitor to pay what they can and to be as generous as possible. The suggested prices are listed below:

The tickets include free admission in to all of the exhibitions. One can bypass the line if they order tickets online and agree to pay the suggested prices above. Advance reservations are needed for groups of 10 or more (Museum Website). Since the Museum is privately funded, it relies solely on donations and membership fees to raise money. The donations can come from the ticket sales mentioned above, or by private donations either individually or froma corporation. Naturally all amounts are welcome. As for the memberships, there are many different levels that one may purchase. These membership levels range from S80 to s25,000. All membership dues contain tax deductible components and varying benefits for joining at different levels. At the most basic membership (S80-S600) benefits range from free admission, exhibition previews, and member-only art talks. At the highest level (S1,500-$25,000) contains even more alluring benefits.

At the $1,500 level, members are invited to member-only gatherings and have even earlier access to preview art exhibits. By the time one
reaches the $25,000 level, the member is now invited to special events with the Museum President, special programs, and complimentary meals and tea in a $25,000 member only section of the museum. Memberships provide the museum with its highest percentage of revenue. They play on the fact that the Museum will get money, and the members receive free admission and other benefits (Museum Website).

Another way the museum brings in extra cash is through the EmptyMet Tour program. The tour lasts for an hour and a half and allows the visitor to explore all the exhibits and galleries before the Museum opens to the public. The tours are capped at 25 people to ensure a more
intimate and less crowded experience. As I mentioned above, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most visited museums in the world, so this definitely provides a much different experience. Tickets for the EmptyMet tour start at $125.

While many of these prices seem fairly expensive to go visit a bunch of art, the exhibits at the Museum are some of the best in the country. Sections like the Ancient Near East Art, Asian Art, Egyptian Art, and Moden and Contemporary art are just a few of the many popular galleries that people flock to see. The Ancient Near East collection began in the early 1900s with a few cuneiform tablets and seals and has grown to more than 7,000 pieces today. The artifacts represent a history of the region beginning in the Neolithic Period and encompassing the fall of the Sasanian Empire and the end of Late Antiquity. The Sumerian, Hittite, Sasanian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Elamite cultures (among others) are all represented. One of the most famous items in the collection is a monumental stone lamassu, or guardian figure, from the Assyrian King Ashurmasirpal II.

The Asian and Egyptian collections are just as impressive. The Met’s Asian departmentholds a collection of Asian art, of more than 35,000 pieces that date back to the founding of the museum. The philanthropists donating the earliest gifts usually included Asian art in their
collection. The Asian collection has its own wing in the museum today and spans over 4,000 years of Asian art. On the Egyptian side, more than 26,000 pieces of Egyptian art spanning from the Paleolithic era through the Roman era constitute the Met’s Egyptian collection. Nearly all of the artifacts are on display as well throughout the 40 some Egyptian galleries. Most of the items come from private collections, but about 50% of the collection was found during the museum’s own archeological excavations, carried out between 1906 and 1941 (Hibbard). Both the Asian and Egyptian collections are made up of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts prevalent throughout each society’s history. The Museum also lays out impressive space for an American, Roman, Greek, and Islamic collection as well.

The Modern and Contemporary exhibits are some of the most popular to tourists today. With close to 13,000 works mainly from European and American artists, the modern exhibits make up about 60,000 square feet of gallery space with their iconic works. Some of the most
notable works in the section include: Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein, Jasper Johns’s White Flag, Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), and Max Beckmann’s triptych Beginning. Due to the Museum’s long history, often many works are moved into other exhibits to make room and to update the Modern and Contemporary section (Hibbard). This is just another way the Museum is dedicated to growth.
The exhibits outlined about are just some of the many examples of the works that are situated in this museum in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art provides a very unique and fantastic opportunity to visit some of the greatest art works from history. lconic paintings
and sculptures fill the hallways. This is definitely one of the greatest tourist destinations in the country.

Work Cited

  1. Hibbard, H. (1980). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Harper & Row.Unavailable (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2016, from

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An Overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Met. (2023, Mar 10). Retrieved from

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